To celebrate the release of the Air Jordan XX8, CounterKicks and numerous other media outlets were invited to the Houston Downtown YMCA for an open run pick-up basketball game on All-Star Sunday. Along with yours truly, SLAM Magazine, NBC Sports, The Basketball Jones, and others represented on the court.
Greeted at the door by Jordan Brand employees, I was given a body bag-sized duffle with a jersey, shorts, socks, t-shirt and, oh yes, the green camo Air Jordan XX8 — probably the most polarizing Jordan since the XI. After busting out the gear and more player arrivals, we were split onto two courts for the games to begin. Games to 11 by ones, four on four (running side goal full court is too small for fives), winners stay.
I can say these Jordans are something special. Regardless of the looks or price, the performance is, well, different. Full review coming soon but they are VERY, VERY good. Won my first game, then faced a team featuring rapper Trinidad James. And I will say, dude can ball. Nice jumper, decent handle, good size, and he beat us. Time to talk to the crowd.
SLAM’s Lang Whitaker was on my team and had a lot to say about trading Josh Smith to my beloved Mavs. A high school coach from 5th Ward brought his team in for some run and some gear. Josh Benedek from Jordan Brand was organizing teams and running games. Stalley showed up zipped in camo greens as well (the XX8 was out here in all colors — Stealth, Green, Red, and Blue). One guy hooped in All-Star LeBron Xs. After about twenty minutes of the guys in front of me playing picnic ball I got back on. And lost. To Trinidad again. But I had a nice day playing. Dropped some threes, went to the rack, mid-range. It was on. Trinidad hit a couple of long jumpers and got a tip in for the win.
This was my first time at an event like this and it was unbelievable. Made me hate my day job. Hard. But we all can’t be world-travelling journalists or rap stars, which makes me cherish the event even more. Thanks to Jordan Brand and particularly Josh for the invite and the set up. I will hopefully see you in the Big Easy next year to check the XX9.
Here’s photos of the Jordan Brand Open Run…